FlyBe could be “set to collapse within hours” according to the BBC, as the airline struggles to negotiate fallout from the rapidly spreading coronavirus in Europe. The airline announced a slump in bookings due to the deadly COVID-19 virus could make it difficult for them to survive until next week’s budget review of Air Passenger Duty (APD) charges.
Has FlyBe gone bust?
Varying reports have come out about the current status of FlyBe, following insider reports the airline was facing difficulties.
According to the BBC, the airline is “set to collapse within hours” just months after it narrowly avoided administration in January.
Sky News’ City editor Mark Kleinman also confirmed he was told staff from accountancy firm EY were travelling to regional airports in preparation for administration.
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He said via Twitter: “I’m told staff from EY, the accountancy firm, are travelling to regional airports across the UK in preparation for Flybe falling into administration in the coming hours.
“As I reported earlier, there was little prospect of the company surviving until next week’s Budget.”
ITV News’ business and economics editor Joel Hill added the airline was waiting for scheduled flights to land before putting the business into administration.
He said via Twitter: “I’m told that Flybe is waiting for the last scheduled flight to land tonight before putting the business into administration.”
“The airline is expected to then cease operating.
“A formal announcement is likely to be made in the early hours of tomorrow morning.”
The organisation’s Scotland correspondent Peter Smith questioned whether he had seen FlyBe cease operations “before my eyes”.
He said: “I’ve been told FlyBe aircraft has now been seized here at Glasgow airport.”
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“Birmingham to Glasgow FlyBe flight has diverted to Manchester.
“Staff are being taken off their aircraft and being told the bad news.”
After reports of disruption to flights at Glasgow Airport, FlyBe said there had been a “miscommunication” over refuelling of two services to Birmingham.
A spokeswoman for the airliner said: “FlyBe can confirm that, following a miscommunication regarding re-fuelling this evening, two flights were delayed and that due to the crew now being out of hours, have been cancelled.
“Normal operations have now resumed.
“We sincerely apologise to those passengers inconvenienced by the disruption to their travel plans.”
FlyBe had allegedly warned the government it was on the verge of collapse according to Sky News, and allegedly renewed pleads for emergency financial support.
The company was initially hoping it would survive until the budget next week when a promised review of Air Passenger Duty (APD) charges would take place.
Insiders told Sky News while “last-ditch” discussions were ongoing, the chances of FlyBe’s survival were “more remote”.
The Exeter-based airline serves the more remote parts of the UK, including the Channel Islands and the Isle of Man.
The company’s new owners promised a £30 million lifeline in January, as they continued government appeals.
However, an insider told the BBC the coronavirus had “made a bad situation much worse”.
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